First Minister imposes lockdown in Aberdeen.
Following an increase in coronavirus (COVID-19) cases in Aberdeen, local restrictions on travel, indoor gatherings between households and the closure of indoor and outdoor hospitality will be introduced in the Aberdeen City local authority area.
Taking effect from 5pm on Wednesday 5 August, bars, restaurants, cafes and pubs will be required by law to close. Hotel restaurants can remain open to provide food for existing guests, and takeaway services can continue.
People in Aberdeen City are asked not to meet other households indoors or travel more than five miles for leisure or recreational purposes.
People can continue to travel for work, or education purposes. Visiting in hospitals and care homes will return to essential visits only.
The restrictions come as NHS Grampian have reported that as of 0900 today there are now 54 positive cases of COVID-19 in the cluster associated with the Hawthorn Bar in Aberdeen. A total of 191 close contacts have been traced through Test & Protect.
More than 20 licensed premises have now been identified as being linked to people who have subsequently tested positive for COVID-19 and the outbreak is linked to the night time economy.
This morning, the First Minister chaired a meeting of SGORR (the Scottish Government’s resilience committee) with Aberdeen City Council, NHS Grampian and Police Scotland to consider the response to the situation.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said:-
“These decisions have not been taken lightly. The fact that the outbreak is no longer simply associated with one location, combined with the accelerating increase in cases means we cannot rule out community transmission now being the case in Aberdeen.
We are at a stage of this pandemic where extreme caution is still necessary. Acting now gives us the time and the space to protect the ability of our young people to return to full time education.
I would ask people who attended any of the locations named to be extra vigilant, to follow all guidance and to isolate and book a test if they have any symptoms.
I want to emphasise, that getting a test – and even getting a negative result – is not a substitute for self-isolating. So if you have symptoms, or if you are contacted by our Test and Protect team and told to do so, you will need to self-isolate.”
In responding to the First Minister’s imposed lockdown in Aberdeen the Scottish Licensed Trade Association described it as a “bitter blow” for the area and an industry that has only just started to rebuild following months of closure.
Colin Wilkinson, SLTA managing director, said:-
“Responsible operators, as demonstrated by the Hawthorn Bar, have gone above and beyond to comply with the guidance that was put in place by the Government to allow the industry to reopen, and some operators also demonstrated their commitment by voluntary closing their premises before the First Minister’s announcement today.
Obviously the forced closure was not a decision taken lightly by Government. The SLTA acknowledges the fragile situation we are all operating in and we cannot emphasise enough the need for everyone to adhere to the guidance, businesses, staff and customers alike. All premises must also operate the Test and Protect scheme which is so important in stopping the spread of the virus.
The outcome in Aberdeen reflects the difficulties faced by a ‘social’ industry operating in these unprecedented times and highlights the need for ongoing sector-specific support through an extension of the furlough scheme plus additional grant aid for the industry’s survival – and for the protection of the jobs it provides.
There can be no doubt that customers also have their part to play and the SLTA asks those heading to, visiting our pubs and bars, and returning home, to comply with the necessary restrictions that are now in place.
Responsible operators in our industry will continue to do everything they can to provide as safe an environment as possible for all customers who visit our pubs and bars.”